Social SecurityEditor: I am getting steamed from the...


February 22, 1992

Social Security

Editor: I am getting steamed from the letters that are being written by those who do not need their Social Security payments. There are those who do not want cost of living increases and people who want to tax the Social Security income.

Tax was paid on these wages when they were earned. If there are those who do not need it, let them check off a place where they can donate it to their nearest politician.

Better yet, let them return it, and they can distribute it to those of us who do appreciate it.

Mary McCracken.


Move on Cancer

Editor: One year ago The Sun ran headlines concerning Maryland having the highest cancer death rate in the nation. Several important bills were introduced in Annapolis leading to passage of a modest increase in cigarette taxes and mandated mammography. Other important bills were offered as well, bills which would have limited the access of minors to cigarette vending machines and insure smoke-free air in public places.

There was discussion of these issues in both the legislature as well as The Sun. Unfortunately, tobacco interests in the state prevented passage of many of our more important pieces of legislation. And since the end of the legislative session, little more has been heard.

Forward one year. The Sun again runs a front-page story about Maryland once more having the highest cancer death incidence in the country. Again we have legislation introduced to address the problems -- e.g., a cigarette excise tax, bills limiting minors' access to cigarettes and smoking in public places. And again the tobacco lobby responds by having introduced the "Tobacco Control Act of 1992" -- a cynically titled bill which would in fact undo much of the progress made in the past decade.

Will we allow passage of a bill which will permit smoking in school systems that have already banned it, dismantle private workplace policies instituted by employers and make smokers a protected class in the same manner that minorities, ethnic and religious groups are in matters of employment? Or will we respond clearly and decisively by informing the public of the positive steps which we can take to reduce the risks of avoidable cancer deaths -- education, lifestyle modification and early detection.

Robert K. Brookland, M.D.


The writer is public affairs chairman for the Maryland division of the American Cancer Society.

911 Abuse

Editor: What can be done to stop the abuse of 911?

Could the fine for calling a false alarm be used? Several cases were cited in The Sun the other day. In a recent rape case 911 was called 24 hours after the incident. Why was it called? There was no emergency at that point. The Rape Crisis Center should have been notified.

When we need immediate help -- the real reason for 911's establishment -- the victim cannot get through. Let's keep the abuse out of a valuable service.

Harry Wolf.


1930s Again

Editor: ''None of these'' for president is looking better every day. George Bush is still wooing the rich.

His ''State of the Dis-union'' speech called again for the capital gains tax reduction. He wants to help big business by putting a moratorium on safety measures, endangering workers for 90 more days. He wants to fix the health care problem by leaving all the big insurance companies in the middle of it, rather than TC government-run or ''play or pay'' plan which might hurt his insurance friends.

But the Democratic candidates in the last debate said nothing to distinguish themselves from his policies. Democratic pragmatism is leading this country to two Republican parties.

So-called ''incentives'' to get the country out of this depression are totally useless. Tax reductions, lower interest rates, etc., won't cause consumers to commit themselves to long-term purchases of big-ticket items when they don't have confidence in job stability.

The public can read of the thousands laid off, the bankruptcies, the permanent downsizing. Not until unemployment, underemployment, mis-employment, new compensation application and compensation-exhausting statistics dramatically improve will worker-consumers be willing to spend freely again.

One of the most significant stats is the government's own monthly indicator of consumer confidence, a figure in continuous free-fall.

A capital gains tax reduction won't increase investment and employment; it will only make the rich richer, as they put the gains in their pocket. Lower interest rates and tax reductions won't help end this depression as long as worker-consumers have this completely justifiable negative attitude.

''Job!, Jobs!, Jobs!'' as George Bush says. Do we need to resurrect the 1930-style alphabet agencies?

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


Women to Men: Tongue Lashings or Slaps?

Editor: No, Paul Quinnett.

I, for one, will not bring back the slap as you suggested in your Feb. 8 commentary. I will not humiliate and degrade myself by resorting to physical violence as a form of communication.

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